Did the Tribune Co.’s South Florida Sun Sentinel just throw its hat into the “offensive polls about gays” ring? Hoping to increase read feedback and social sharing, the web producers at newspapers often call for additional elements to be added to articles. So this item about Judge Virginia Phillips striking down DADT, and other gay-related lawsuits, was published with a poll asking, “Do you think gay people should have equal rights?” I don’t know, should blacks?
The BBC, CNN, and Univision have all found themselves in trouble for asking stupid questions of web visitors. Now the Sun-Sentinal joins this prestigious group by trying to engage its audience in a discussion about LGBT equality, but instead prompts readers to consider that, hey, it might actually be okay for one class of human beings to be denied certain rights.
And while you can almost picture the eye-rolling going on in the newsroom as the “No” answer was written up (“No. Gay marriage and gay adoption go against every basic value. Gay people openly serving the military will destroy morale. Sorry, but basic human values should be more important than political correctness”), these are among the stupid and unnecessary web pranks that media companies should avoid.
Unless they’re willing to publish the same polls about women, Latinos, and the blind.